15 Sep Reflections of A Generation (pt. 1): A Mirror of Social Unrest In Iran: Influenced by Baby Boomers?
Iranian Echo Boomers: Mirrors of Baby Boomer Reformers
Recent news headlines are awash with the political events that are taking place in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Perhaps at a glance, one might wonder why so much attention is being paid to the social unrest of a nation that is so distant to our own. A closer examination, however, reveals our fascination with witnessing social reformation. US Baby boomers especially, are keen to see the dynamics of change manifest in an environment much like the one that sparked their own counter-culture movement. Indeed, one could easily argue that the great experiment of the boomers has had a direct influence on the calls for social reformation that are now being heard in Iran. For certain, the issues that Iranian society is now struggling with (and the resulting unrest) mirror’s the boomers own fight against a prevailing social structure.
In fact, a closer look at the current social structure of Iranian society is not so different than the conservative landscape that shaped America in the 1950’s. America, prior to our own social reformation; was one of defined gender roles, a Judeo-Christian based morality standard, and a general resistance to any change that would disrupt the status quo. Iranian society could certainly be described in similar terms. Iranian society has definite ideas about the roles of men and women, it features an Islamic (which is to say religious) code of morality, and the government (including older generations) is resistant to any change to the system, especially by the present (which is to say younger) generation of citizens.
And it is this current generation of Iranian citizens that are becoming more restless with the current social structure and vocal in their dissatisfaction. This generation is young and very much in tune with the social dynamics both at home and abroad. Consider the fact that the median age of the 70 million people in Iran is 26 years of age. Further, an estimated ¼ of the population is under the age of 15. This younger generation of Iranians is better educated than their parents, and in this age of technology, they are very much aware of the more liberal (some would say progressive) social structures that make up many western nations.
Baby boomers are very familiar with this situation. They themselves stood at a similar crossroads. As America transitioned from the 1950’s to the 1960’s, there were many social issues that began to ferment unrest. Racial and gender inequality, participation in foreign wars, a negative perception of government policies, to name a few issues, resulted in baby boomers resorting to action. First there were the grass root information campaigns and voices being heard. This soon transformed into protests and political activism on a wide front.
By the 1970’s the counter-culture was in full swing. For baby boomers, it meant a continual drive to influence and drive the direction of society. This meant, on the one hand, to have a consistent and continual voice in the dynamics that formed the social structure. It also meant that their ideas had to have a platform, which turned out to be television, radio, movies, comics and other mediums. What we are seeing in Iran is a generation of Iranian activists who are taking a cue from their American counterparts, as well as their own parents who led the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Having the required education and communication resources has allowed for their own grassroots campaign to spread the idea of social change. Their voices have been heard. Again, using American baby boomers as a model, it seems that the second phase of reformation has begun – protests and political activism.
This Psychological Article on Reflections of A Generation (pt. 1): A Mirror of Social Unrest In Iran Influenced by Baby Boomers? is part of Boomer Yearbook’s continuing series of psychological articles on World Religions, politics and understanding as a solution to types of discrimination. We believe knowledge is power. We’d love to hear what you think.
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